Why Wolves transfer raid for huge Arsenal star makes perfect sense - for both clubs

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Wolves have emerged as potential suitors for a key Arsenal player in recent days, according to reports.

It was a tough watch, in truth. As the full time whistle trilled and a swarm of hi-vis shirts swaddled Aaron Ramsdale, it was hard not to think of the embellished affection showered upon a beloved family pet as it becomes apparent that they are not long for this mortal coil. That being said, you could argue that a sickly guinea pig probably would have looked less nervy between the sticks for Arsenal on Saturday evening.

With David Raya ineligible to face his parent club, Brentford, Ramsdale was parachuted back into the role that many people still feel he was unjustly removed from. His performance did little to vindicate his adherents, however. Despite keeping a clean sheet, the England international appeared shaky throughout, and was nearly caught out on more than one occasion as a consequence of lacklustre distribution.

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But perhaps most telling was Mikel Arteta's refusal to directly praise Ramsdale during his post-match press duties. Asked about his goalkeeper's performance, the Spaniard said: ‘I’m so happy with the team, with the way they performed, we got the clean sheet and I’m so happy with how everybody played.’ When quizzed as to whether it was understandable that the stopper might be anxious, especially given a barrage of vocal criticism from the home support, Arteta added: ‘The team was exceptional today.’ His silence speaks volumes.

From the outset, the Arsenal manager's narrative about having two number ones who rotate and interchange freely has felt somewhat fanciful. Competition is, of course, healthy, as is boasting a deputy capable of stepping in and stepping up when required, but goalkeeping, by its nature, is more hierarchical than any other aspect of a functioning squad, and there is a reason for that. In essence, those between the sticks play a different sport to the rest of their teammates, and their role is characterised by fine margins that can have catastrophic ramifications. As such, the last thing any goalkeeper needs is to feel as if they are playing under constant scrutiny and pressure. And if you need evidence of that, look no further than Ramsdale's timorous display at the weekend.

Taking all of that into account, it is difficult to see how any of this is sustainable; indeed, the exit speculation has already begun to simmer. Several clubs have been touted as prospective admirers of Ramsdale, and the latest to be drawn into this tangled saga are Wolves. According to a report from the Star, the Midlands club are eager to sign the Arsenal stopper on an initial loan deal, with an obligation-to-buy folded into it.

It is understood that current Molineux number one Jose Sa is a target for a smattering of sides in the Saudi Pro League this winter, and while his current employers have slapped a lofty price tag of £35 million on his head, there is a growing feeling that he could be on the move come January. That would, of course, leave Wolves in desperate need of a new first choice option, and while the Star claim that Ramsdale is happy to stay and fight for his place at the Emirates, it is also suggested that without the assurance of regular minutes, he may be tempted to leave in search of fresh opportunities elsewhere.

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To that end, Wolves could be as suitable a place as any for Ramsdale to wipe his proverbial slate clean. Not only are Gary O'Neil's men evidently a promising project very much still in progress, but they are also one of a select few Premier League outfits who are both in need of goalkeeping reinforcements and predominantly unbothered by the threat of relegation.

Moreover, with a European Championship fast approaching, Ramsdale needs to be playing constant and consistent first team football to have any hope of staking a claim in Gareth Southgate's plans for his England squad. And unlike a lot of positions, it doesn't seem to matter too much as to the status of a club that a goalkeeper is representing, only that he is featuring week in, week out. Jordan Pickford, after all, has remained number one despite Everton's various dalliances with the drop.

Ostensibly, then, this has the feel of a potential deal which could suit all parties. Wolves, for their part, secure a quality replacement for the Middle-East-bound Sa, Ramsdale gets his precious minutes, and Arsenal are able to fetch a fee (eventually) for a player who seemingly has no meaningful future at the club. Whether the Gunners would be willing to acquiesce to a deal in January remains to be seen, but certainly, they should consider it.

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